To establish a permanent open restaurants program, several legislative and administrative changes would need to occur. First, a zoning text amendment that eliminates certain restrictions on where sidewalk cafes can be located needs to be approved. Last November, the City Planning Commission voted to approve this text amendment, and now the amendment needs the approval of the City Council.Next, the City Council would need to pass legislation that would repeal the Department of Consumer and Worker Protection’s authority over sidewalk cafes and authorize the Department of Transportation to establish a permanent program.
Once the City Council approves the program, the Department of Transportation and other relevant agencies would need to establish administrative rules about the program, which would also be subject to a public comment process.
However, this does not necessarily mean the DOT is out of the picture for good. Basically, moving forward, as part of the process of creating the new law, Velazquez and fellow councilmembers will now be deciding whether D.O.T. should continue to run the program or whether the job should be handed off to another agency.